Results from Sunday’s non-binding poll showed Catalonians to be heavily in favour of independence with 1.1 million voters showing up to the polls in the first four hours according to Catalonia’s government.
Catalan Leader Artur Mas stated the results showed that “four out of five voters in the region voted yes” to Catalonia becoming an independent state.
The disputed poll comes a month after Scotland voted to stay in the UK and it is thought the rise of pro-independence groups have increased drastically over the last three years. This is following a downward trend in the Spanish economy and sustained denial from the Spanish government in Madrid to grant Catalonia power over its financial future.
Mr Mas was thrilled with the outcome on Sunday referring to the referendum as a “lesson in democracy spelled out in capital letters”. He criticised the Spanish government on the back of the result stating, “We want to decide a new political future. All nations have a right to do so and mature democracies respect that.”
The relevance of Sunday’s symbolic vote has since been disputed with Spanish Justice Minister, Rafael Catala dismissing the vote as “fruitless and useless”. He added, “The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organised by pro-independence forces devoid of any democratic validity.”
Questions have also been raised over the legality of the poll. Spanish state prosecutors declared they were opening an investigation as to whether the informal vote in defiance of the court’s suspension is against the law; leaving many wondering what significance the results actually hold.
Pro-independence groups hope the strongly skewed, non–binding result will push governments to push for the regions financial and political autonomy. The result also led Catalan president to call on Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to consider a formal referendum.
Final results will be published at the end of the month.
Photo Credits: Reuters